Not a walk in the park
Running a business can put relationships under severe strain, especially when you’re in business with your life partner!
I’m talking from experience here, having owned and operated a restaurant with my ex-wife and later a veterinary clinic with another life partner. I also experience this a lot with clients I’m working with.
Being in business is not easy for anyone, but doing this with your life partner introduces another level of complexity. It can be tough to deal with the stress, the long hours, and to find that all important work-life balance. Work seems to be everywhere, and is talked about at work and also at home. You’re also around eachother a lot of the time, so there’s not much time-out, or alone time to balance things out. The challenges and stresses of the last couple of years as a result of Covid and the current economic climate are substantial and have just added to the pressure, and for some it’s the last straw.
What tends to happen is that when we get stressed we take it out on people closest to us. The relationship may start wobbling, or even worse the wheels start coming off. That can be the beginning of the end, or the start of something fantastic. It’s actually your choice!
Weinbox Builders – Case Study
Weinbox Builders is a fast growing home renovation business based in Cambridge. Kevin and Cherie have been running this together for years. We started working together in 2019 with the aim to fast-track business growth. It has been a journey of ups and downs but they say they found their ‘why’ through us working together, and that the ‘how’ has become much easier and more enjoyable because of it.
Cherie says “Before talking about the business, Douwe wanted to know what made us tick as people. His ‘Be Bold’ programme is all about mindset and while it was quite confronting and emotional for me, it was amazing what we got out of it”. Time was spent on the ‘why’ to make sure everyone was on the same page before figuring out the ‘how’ (the business plan) and then implementing the plan.
Since starting to work together the business has grown from 4 staff to 12 staff and profitability is through the roof. The business now has a full order book, and a reliable marketing engine. The growth is all happening despite overcoming some health set-backs and while carrying out a massive house renovation project. “Although we were always able to work together, we have discovered what a great team we are. Things are running smoother than before, and even though the business is growing fast there is more time for us. We continue to look at every business opportunity, as well as making sure we look after ourselves and our relationship. The business is now in a place where we can take a few days off for kids’ sports or school camps, and both Kevin and I continue to grow” says Cherie.
Both Cherie and Kevin are highly motivated and committed to achieving their dreams. They love their business, and life, and their relationship is strong. They are making more profit and the business has become more sustainable with improved systems and processes and reporting.
From a coaching perspective the reason their business and relationship is going well is that they are very clear on their business and personal goals and prepared to dig in and do whatever it takes to achieve that. The personal goals include family and relationship goals and also individual aspects. The business is really just the delivery vehicle to make the personal vision become reality.
The partnership we’ve established is for the long haul. Having a third party in the mix is helpful in working out any issues and to provide ongoing business advisory and mindset support. Also the accountability provided through the coaching and advisory sessions, makes sure there is follow through on agreed actions in terms of business development and performance, as well as achieving personal goals.
Working together – It can be done!
There’s a growing trend of couples that beat the odds and run a successful business – together.
With the right mindset, it is possible to achieve all you want and work hard in your business, as well as keeping your relationship strong. It is possible. I’m definitely not saying it’s easy. It takes a fair bit of awareness, choice and action.
Every partner needs to take responsibility for themselves and their ‘operating state’. Increased self-awareness and practical and proven tools to deal when one or both partners feel disempowered, will change the dynamics massively, and will not just be good for the relationship, but good for the business as well.
It is important to understand and get aligned on why we’re in business and what the future vision is for life and business. Once you know what you’re committed to any choice becomes easier. Having absolute clarity on what is important to you, will almost automatically translate into a substantial increase in motivation and this lifts the energy enormously.
This is the bit that is often missing. The words are not backed up by the action. Without action there is no forward momentum, and we’ll keep milling around in circles. Same shit different day. However when you keep taking purposeful actions (even little actions) the results will start to show.
What’s your next action to take working with your partner to the next level?